Here I am leading up to one of the toughest letters and I get sideswiped by P. I think I’m going insane honestly. While I’ve had a good response to this challenge, all in all, I partially regret undertaking it. Well, no matter… I will finish what I start.
Today we are dealing Post-Climax Confrontation and the infamous Prologue.
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So far in my challenge I’ve discussed Anti-climax, Conflict, Catastrophe, Dénouement, Epilogue, and Exposition. So I think we’ve covered all of our basis for Climax. And yet, here I am. Perhaps I’ll never be done.
As we have discussed, the climax is the point of the story when we begin to deal with the conflict of the story the leads us to resolution. Often times it is when two characters face off in a battle. After that, we tie everything up in a neat little bow.
There are occasions that the climax is not the Final Battle of the story. There is just one more battle to deal with in the story, often coming as a surprise.
But how is this not an extenuation of the conflict? We have our climax, then our resolutions, and during the Dénouement, we have another battle. So wouldn’t it make sense to say that the final battle is the actual resolution?
No. There is a difference between Resolution and Post-Climax Confrontation. Resolution marks the end of the conflict, where Post-Climax is just something extra, occurring during the Dénouement.
So let us go over the criteria you must follow in order to have a successful Post-Climax Confrontation:
1. The major threat must be resolved. Not necessarily the Antagonist is defeated (though this tends to be rare). Whatever major threat there was to the Protagonist has been defeated. Often times, it is a secondary villain that comes for a Post-Climax Confrontation.
A good example of this is the first Die Hard, when Karl manages to survive being strangled (how?) and charges out into a crowd of people with a gun, but Al saves McClane’s life. Karl was a secondary antagonist character.
An example of a Post-Climax Confrontation with the Antagonist would be Bulletproof Monk. We believe Strucker is dead, only for him to show up one last time to be defeated. Thus completing the conflict. This is considered Post-Climax because Kar was able to stop him from getting the contents of the scroll and the Monk was able to pass on the legacy of the scroll to Kar (and Jade). The second confrontation was separate this time because we actually see him die. However, this came right after the resolution but before the Dénouement.
The end of the first Mortal Kombat movie ended on a cliff hanger, so it does not count as Post-Climax Confrontation.
3. We must have closure. With this trope, it needs to help us clear up any remainder character arcs left unsaid in the story, or deal with any bad guy left unaccounted for.
Now, the final confrontation doesn’t need to be related to the central conflict of the story, and may often be a side story. Such as the The Three Musketeers, when after D’Artagnan is made a Musketeer, he is confronted by Gérard. Gérard had been chasing him since the beginning of the film. This had nothing to do with the overall plot, but it was a final confrontation for the story, to which it promptly ended after that.
4. Coming out of left field. We must not see this coming, it must come as a surprise. No leading up to it, no foreshadowing…nothing that tells us that this could happen.
5. This is it. After this, there are no more confrontations in the story. Once we surprise the readers with this, it takes away the surprise of it happening again.
Now, not all confrontations have to be one of violence. It may be a conversation. As in the case of Serenity, in which the Operative appears before Mal one last time, telling him that he has hurt the government, but not destroyed them. Mal tells him if he sees the Operative again, he will kill him, to which the Operative states, “You won’t.”
This is a fun setup to do for a story. Again, it should be a surprise, so try to do it for one of your stories. If you do it for all of them, then your fans will come to expect it… and what fun is that?
Prologue… the bane of the writers existence. Well, that and grammar. If you can’t tell, I don’t really like prologues, and many writers do not. But I will try to be as objective as I can be here.
Prologue, or prolog, is Greek, from pro (before) logos (word). It is used as an opening to a story to establishing setting and includes background details and other miscellaneous information. In the original Greek usage, it was of great importance, though it has fallen out of favor in modern usage.
The general usage of a prologue is to either grab the readers attention right away, perhaps with an action sequence. I suggest doing this for your first chapter, but writers may want to open the first chapter with exposition and consider using prologue for action.
Other writers use prologue for info dump exposition. Get the tedious explanation out of the way in the prologue so it doesn’t affect the overall story. Another use is a past event that caters to the story. In this way, it acts as a flashback before the start of the narrative.
However, most prologues I’ve read are BORING!!! Ug. Often times I’m reading something that seems to have next to no connection with the story and if it does, then I have to read the whole thing just to figure that out, and it takes away the fun of reading. I, like many other readers, skip the prologue. If the information in it is important to know, as a writer I integrate it into the story. I rather do a flashback than a prologue.
If you do decide to do one, might I make a few suggestions:
1. Don’t call it a prologue.
2. Don’t waste the readers time, make the information important.
3. Make it interesting. Don’t use this opportunity to show off your writing, make it something that everyone would want to read.
4. Keep it short. While certainly more than a few pages, if I see the prologue is 20 pages, I’ll skip it.
5. If you want to give details, don’t do a full info dump. Also, reiterate the details in some way in your story, just in case someone didn’t read the prologue.
This does seem like a lot of work just to have one. Honestly, it might be better not to do one at all rather than jump through hoops to have a successful prologue. Just a thought.
Post-Climax Confrontation & Prologue
Almost similar to Exposition and Epilogue, the link here is the lack of conflict. The story introduces the conflict and the Resolution is the end of conflict. The link between the two is the fact that they appear outside the conflict of the story. They may connect to it, but are not crucial for the conflict.
Prologue is for before the story to begin or to give us background details. Post-climax Confrontation is after the resolution and just a bit more action before the close of story. In my opinion, these are just extras to have to try, as Elzar from Futurama would say, “Knock it up a notch…BAM!”
I need $125 by October 30th, 2017. Anything you can give will help.